How Offline Conversations Can Help Your Career
We live in a fast-paced digital world where tapping, ticking and clicking our way towards goals is the norm. But, while there are certainly advantages to digital communications, why are we in such a rush to ditch our human touch? As a jobseeker or junior employee, there are distinct advantages to taking a conversation offline.
Saves the clock
Although some dismiss offline conversations as time wasters, if conducted efficiently, a quick chat is sometimes all it takes to get the job done. Despite instant delivery, an email or text message can stay stagnant for minutes, hours and even days before a response is issued. If you have a time-sensitive issue which needs to be addressed, it might be best to talk offline. Don’t leave the ball dead in the receiver’s court.
For more complex issues, a long chain of emails can quickly become confusing. With an offline conversation, complex issues can be addressed head-on. With all answers and questions being conducted in real time, a problem can be solved in one unbroken exchange as opposed to navigating an online puzzle.
Shows your true colours
As more and more companies migrate towards all things digital, showing true personality in the workplace can be difficult. From sending awkward messages to employing a poor choice of words in an email, there are numerous ways you can appear unprofessional or unsure in a digital exchange. A typo or grammatical error further muddies the waters.
Speaking with someone, whether in-person or over the phone, can help eliminate contextual confusion. The tone of your voice and natural fluidity of conversation helps clarify your mood, the urgency of your issue and how confidant you are in your delivery. As an added bonus, an offline conversation is also an opportunity to show off your personality and demonstrate your ability to ask and answer questions in an intelligent manner.
How to do it
Have a reason
Before you initiate contact, be clear on the salient talking points you wish to address. A common pet peeve of working people is wasting time with aimless conversations or meetings. Be prepared.
Suggest a phone call or in-person meeting
No one likes an unannounced guest. If you wish to have an offline conversation, send an email expressing your interest to do so first. In this email, be clear on what exactly you wish to address, why you feel it is best to do so offline and suggest a couple times when you are available to chat.
Get straight to business
Do not waste their time. When your offline conversation begins, skip the small talk and get right down to any prepared questions or points you wish to address. This saves time and leaves space for follow-up queries.
After your meeting or call, send a brief message thanking the person for their time, highlighting some key points you discussed. This shows you respect their time and leaves a digital open end you can pick up in the future if more information is needed.